Adding a Little Something Extra to the IMC Plan

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Shortly after I finished the intro. class I began putting together a plan so that departments at work could create marketing plans and start measuring results. I thought it would be a great way to help justify departmental money spent on marketing, help jusitfy the overall budget for the Graphics & Marketing office, and be a great learning experience for the students. It all sounds great, right?

The back-story

I should clarify that the department I’m in works with 10 marketing plans on a yearly basis and that marketing plans stemmed from the branding project, which was a very challenging experience for our staff. I wanted to use the marketing plans as a way to get buy-in and have departments feel like they owned their marketing efforts. The office I’m in did a lot of marketing “on behalf of departments” but not a lot was being done to measure those efforts.

The process was a year in the making. The staff and I spent countless hours teaching and working with departments so they would understand marketing and how to measure it. The roadblock that I ran into (and is one of the most challenging areas for many marketing professionals) was how to get people invested. As I said, countless hours went into education and preparation so the staff felt like these were goals they wanted to achieve, but we were still having trouble with buy-in.

An attempt at buy-in

What I failed to realize is that I continually called the goals “marketing goals.” I had spent years getting departments to use the graphics & marketing office, so “marketing goals” meant “the marketing department.” It was challenging to get ownership and help departments keep track of their goals. I often heard, “Just tell me what you want me to write so we can finish this.”

As a result, we’ve made many changes to the marketing plans.

  1. We don’t call them “marketing goals.” We talk to departments and say that we want to work with them on their departmental goals that marketing helps them achieve. It’s a small change, but it helps them feel ownership of the goals they select. They’re not just thinking about Web site traffic, but sales and attendance numbers.
  2. We’ve added a small chart to the marketing plans that allows departments to keep track of their progress throughout the semester. This way, departments know where they stand and how close they are to achieving their goals. There are four check-in meetings a year and departments will bring their numbers to the meetings with them. Again, a small change, but putting their progress into the plan helped them keep track of everything.   We noticed that spreadsheets were created to monitor the goals, but after the first check in or two they were missing in action. Additionally, they didn’t have to contact us to get progress updates.
  3. This year we’re only updating the plans once. In the first year of implementation there were a lot of changes to the marketing plans (and because I want to make sure they’re pretty, we create them in InDesign, which means only the marketing department can update them). However, with a full year of putting the plans together and a full year of implementation, the plans are designed as fillable .pdf documents that departments will have and be able to update four times a year.

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These three tips are small, but have made a difference in our organization. What we are doing is always a work in progress, but each year we make changes and get closer to finding what will work for our organization. In a few weeks we will have an infograph of the goals we’ve achieved and I will share it when it’s ready. If you’re interested in seeing how this was developed for a student union on a college campus, check out the materials on my Web site.

Have you added anything to your marketing plans to keep you on track? What has worked well?

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One Response to “Adding a Little Something Extra to the IMC Plan”

  1. Visualize the Results | WVU IMC Student Blog Says:

    […] my last post I talked about a few changes we’ve made to our IMC plans in order to help with staff buy-in […]

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